Two of the Biggest CRO Levers for eCommerce Stores from 1000s of User Studies

There’s two main themes can have a big impact on improving conversion rates and show up consistently in the user studies we do for our eCommerce clients: getting people to the right product faster and them trusting your store enough to purchase.

Let’s start with Navigation and Filters.

When it comes to finding the right product, most stores use generic filters. But the problem is that most consumers don’t shop by sorting items from A to Z, by brand, by price, or by new products.

They want to shop and filter by concern, theme, features, etc. so they can get a narrower list of which products to engage with and which they can safely skip.

What does that look like in real-life?

Let me share a few examples I’ve seen from our user studies.

🏊‍♀️ Pool Equipment Brands – Shoppers wanted filters based on salt water or chlorine, pool size, inground or above ground pool, pool pump required, etc

🧴 Skincare brands – Shoppers wanted filters based on their concerns or preferences such as: oily skin, dry skin, chemicals used, vegan, puffy eyes, acne, etc.

🍷 Glassware brands – Shoppers wanted filters based on type of drink (martini, whiskey, champagne, tea, coffee, etc), the temperature of the liquid it can handle (hot vs cold), volume, and themes (like Christmas or Easter)

🎧 Headphone brands – Shoppers wanted filters based on over the ear, under the ear, noise canceling, gaming, wireless, travel size, etc.

As you can see, it’s different for each brand and product type, but the idea is that with the right filters consumers can narrow down any product list (even those with thousands of products) to only a few items relevant to their unique needs and interests – in just a few clicks.

🛍️🚀 This dramatically speeds up the exploration and selection process.

When customers find the product they want faster and without friction they are more likely to purchase and have a more enjoyable experience.

Ever been to a Chinese joint with a 5-page, 150-dish menu? Takes ages to pick a meal, right? And the waiter’s side-eye? NOT helping! 😅

Now, think of a swanky spot with just 7 options on a one pager. BAM! You decide in a hot minute, no sweat. 💁‍♀️🍽️

💨 When you make it difficult to narrow down your products in your store in the way they want to, shoppers get frustrated, feel overwhelmed, and bail to find an easier path.

🏗️ Depending on how many products your store has, this project can be a big undertaking. However, in my experience, it’s been well worth the effort as it has contributed to some of our biggest conversion increases as much as doubling conversion rates with just this change.

This is especially worth it for stores with lots of products, but even if you only have a few products, thinking through how to label them well helps consumers go through their buying and decision making process faster – leading to more sales.

Here’s some stores with great examples of filters:

Ukelele Mate


The Ordinary

Warby Parker


Ok now let’s move on to the evolving landscape of TRUST!

Consumer buying patterns have changed and trust is more elusive than ever. They’re increasingly skeptical of manipulated or faked reviews now. Blame it on fake news, misinformation, or scams, but today’s savvy and skeptical shoppers just aren’t buying your claims regardless of how authentic they are.

Let’s dive into some recurring themes I’ve noticed.

 Serious buyers do additional external research

If they’re serious, they’ll go on a quest for truth, scouring your social media, Amazon listings, Google search results, and other third-party sites to verify your claims before buying. Which means that if your third-party reviews aren’t great – they’re out.

Social media followers and mentions served as additional social proof of how successful (or not) the brand is. It also provided a way to observe how the brand presents itself and interacts with its customers. Like how the brand responds to negative feedback or issues.

The exact resources or social media platforms used to verify stores varied depending on the type of brand, products, and consumer demographics. For example facebook and instagram were checked mostly for clothing brands whereas Reddit or YouTube was more popular for tech brands.

✨ Which adds the risk of: Distraction

When shoppers turn to third-party sites to verify your claims it’s a double-edged sword. Once they’re on social media, they might get distracted and forget to return to your store to complete their purchase. Oops.

👎 Uncited, unverifiable reviews? No bueno.

If your reviews don’t have proper citations, names, photos, or links to the original source, a good percentage of shoppers assume you made them up.

🙅‍♂️ All 5-star reviews? Shoppers ain’t buying it.

When all of your products have glowing, 5-star reviews, shoppers will assume you’re full of it. They won’t believe that “everything is great” and may even conclude that you’ve deleted negative reviews – even if not remotely true. Perception is reality tho and if your reviews seem too good to be true, they lose trust.

💰 Tons of reviews, products with varying ratings, and great UGC?

Consumers love it. They don’t leave the site, they don’t leave to verify your claims, they feel its trustworthy and they move forward with their purchases.

🙈 Few or No Reviews?

Shoppers relied more heavily on detailed product images and product descriptions to learn more about products on your store (over how they would behave and scour reviews on sites such as Amazon).

🤑 So how do you exude trust and make shoppers believe in your brand?

🙌 Spruce up those third-party reviews.

If you’ve got some less-than-stellar reviews out there, take action to set things right. On the flip side, if you’re rocking some incredible third-party reviews, find a way to showcase them on your site too. We’ve seen that some shoppers who venture off-site and discover glowing reviews get even more pumped to buy. But for those who never leave your site, they might miss out on that extra dose of trust. So, make sure your awesomeness is on display in both places!

🤳 Focus on getting UGC in reviews:

Photos and videos in reviews are super persuasive to help shoppers make their buying decisions. It makes it way more trustworthy as they get to see an actual photo of what they will get and not a “marketing photo.”

For reviews lacking UGC like photos or videos, ensure authenticity by including profile photos, names, links, and relevant reviewer info. The more genuine it appears, the greater trust it builds. Counteract suspicions of fake or AI-generated content by presenting verifiable details.

🤗 Embrace negative reviews!

Don’t curate or nix ‘em. They actually boost shoppers’ trust in your reviews. When there’s a legit complaint, respond in public and squash the issue. It shows you’ve got your customers’ backs and your customer support is on point.

⚙️ Set up a testimonial collection and display system:

In another blog post here, our founder Quinn has written about the testimonial system we used to generate 52 reviews for Conversion Crimes in just a few months with little effort.

🏷️ Create filters for reviews

If you have tons of reviews, give shoppers ways to sort and filter reviews by star ratings as well as tags (taking into account the points made about filters in my first point – for example tagging reviews that mention how the sizing ‘fits’ for clothing brands).

Great Examples:

🚫 Ditch the social media links on your site!

Social media’s all about driving peeps to your store, not whisking ’em away. If they wanna do some recon, they’ll hit up Google and find it themselves. Don’t make it a cakewalk for them to click away and lose focus.

Faster navigation and trust building are two core themes about shopping behavior that when addressed, can significantly increase your conversions.

In a nutshell, it’s all about making it easy for shoppers to find the right product swiftly and fostering unshakeable trust in your store.

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